Academy Awards producer Will Packer has spoken out about the shocking Oscars moment that unfolded during 2022’s ceremony, which saw action movie actor Will Smith slap comedy movie actor Chris Rock live on stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Packer said that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) were prepared to take action against Smith, but it was Rock that stopped the law from getting involved. “They were saying, you know, this is battery was the word they used in that moment,” he says on the show, which aired Friday April 1. “They said, ‘We will go get him. We are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him’.”
He continued, “They were laying out the options. And as they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options. He was like, ‘No, no, I’m fine’. He was like, ‘No, no, no’. And even to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish.’ The LAPD officers finish laying out what his options were. And they said, you know, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said, ‘No’.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone, an LAPD source said that if Smith was charged with battery, it would be classed as a misdemeanour. According to the source, this means that “it would take the victim stepping forward for us to get involved.”
After Smith struck Rock on-stage, the LAPD released a statement confirming that Rock had declined to press charges against the actor, who reportedly refused the Academy’s request to leave the ceremony following his actions.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the police force said in a statement. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”